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Crossing Guard Loves Kids, Hates Traffic

Beverly Cogswell was in tears Tuesday, but so far she's resisting her family's urging to call it quits.

Cogswell, 61, has been a crossing guard at Jefferson Science Magnet School for nearly 32 years. With a shift in attitudes and the installation of an entrance to I-95 just down the road, keeping the children safe is more challenging than it used to be. But Tuesday it got out of hand.

Toneshia Blackmon of Bridgeport, 28, raced past Cogswell's stop sign and into the road that is blocked during dismissal. Then she came back to harass Costwell.

"I'm in the middle of the road, all of a sudden she is at my side, screaming and yelling, 'You don't just cross a child like that. You gotta take them by the hand,'" Cogswell said. "I said, 'Get out of my face now.' Meanwhile, I've still got kids, and I'm in the road, and I've got traffic coming down. Then she brushes me, she was so close she brushed me."

Blackmon threatened to call the police and left. Meanwhile, Cogswell engaged the four children who were involved in a little game: repeating the license plate number over and over, so she wouldn't forget it.

Cogswell called the police. Blackmon was arrested and charged with violating the peace and driving an unregistered vehicle. Blackmon was not charged with failure to obey a school crossing guard , which carries at least a $100 fine.

That was just the latest problem during Cogswell's increasingly difficult part-time job. "I have them beeping the horn in the traffic because they want to get down here and get onto Route 7," she said. "I'm in the road and my problem is to get the kid across."

The nearby hill is downright scary, especially in winter.

"It's a constant battle," Cogswell said. "They fly over the hill. I won't even go out there until I know they're going to stop."

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